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Volume 26 No. 231
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Fire Confident About Move To Soldier Field With 11-Year Deal

The Fire are confident that moving back to Soldier Field will be "good for the club," and the team also thinks that it will "have plenty of time to make it work," according to Brian Sandalow of the CHICAGO SUN-TIMES. The Fire and the city of Chicago have an 11-year deal in place, with the "initial portion of the lease" at Soldier Field running for three years, with two three-year extensions, then two one-year extensions. Chicago Park District CEO Michael Kelly said, "We anticipate it to go all 11 years." Scheduling conflicts "could be a late-season concern because the Bears have a five-day window for the facility." The grass surface also will be "closely monitored." Kelly said the Bears were "heavily considered" when the deal was made (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 10/9). In Chicago, Jeremy Mikula noted financial terms of the deal "were not disclosed." The Fire announced that the "first match in their return to the stadium will be a nationally televised game" on March 21 against Atlanta United. Returning to play at Soldier Field "comes with challenges" for the Fire. However, Kelly said that he is "confident the Fire and Park District can make it work, pointing out the Fire's previous seasons at Soldier Field." Kelly added that he thinks an "average attendance of 25,000 is possible." However, Mikula notes getting to those numbers "might be difficult," as the Fire averaged just 12,324 fans per game this season (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 10/9).